If you’re an Alfred Hitchcock fan, you’ve probably noticed that Vertigo has gone up in the public’s estimation.
Jumping from #61 to #9 on the American Film Institute’s latest Top 100 list, the film is as much if not more a subject of introspection than its revered counterparts Rear Window, Rebecca or Psycho. Fittingly, Guy Maddin, together with Galen and Evan Johnson, have drawn together clips from exactly 100 films starring the ever-photogenic San Francisco in a pastiche, homage, reworking, reinterpretation or what you will of what in many critics’ estimations, this author among them, is Hitchcock’s finest achievement.
The obvious choices that spring to mind abound, among them The Rock, A View to a Kill and Dirty Harry; the latter of which is deployed liberally in one of The Green Fog’s best sequences as the Directors recreate Vertigo’s opening, thrilling rooftop chase to great effect.
Sparing on the dialogue, while most sequences are conspicuously stitched together and ever-conscious of The Green Fog’s experimental format, transitions between Michael Douglas’ appropriately named The Streets of San Francisco and other fare are comparatively seamless and too feature some welcome reprieves of dialogue, certainly a staple of the original film. On the occasions where patchily rendered snippets of numerous encounters are otherwise pasted together to resemble something akin to the memorable exchanges in the original, the impact is markedly less resonant.
Featuring varied sequences visually cognizant of the ’58 classic and ofttimes remarkably so, the presence of the titular fog is more often than not a distraction, inserted at points which otherwise invite us to marvel at how closely and affectionately entire tracts have been recreated with wholly distinct footage and evident perseverance.
Packing a reference to just about every notable flick in which San Francisco was visually resplendent there was one very notable exception, being Tommy Wiseau’s (infamous) The Room. Albeit not quite of the style or substance of those on-screen treasures which the crew here pursued, while it may very well have had to do with copyright issues which could prevent sequences from Wiseau’s maligned classic appearing in some other contexts, the absence of even a passing reference is as much a curiosity as much else ultimately featured.
A fun experiment with several shrewd innovations, The Green Fog is one for the Vertigo fans together eager film freshers and their lecturers to pore over.
The Green Fog screened at the Sydney Underground Film Festival
Coverage on Film Fight Club